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Philippine Red Cross on full alert during Fire Prevention Month

MANILA, March 1 (PNA) -- The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said it is on full alert 24/7 to respond to fire incidents during the fire season this month.

In a news release issued Wednesday, the PRC said it has put on stand-by 18 fire trucks, 12 water tankers, and thousands of trained emergency responders nationwide for any fire emergency. It has also readied food and non-food items for displaced families in evacuation centers.

March, the beginning of summer in the Philippines, has the highest number of fire incidents, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP). It is thus declared as Fire Prevention Month. This year’s theme, “Buhay at Ari-Arian ay Pahalagahan, Ibayong Pag-iingat sa Sunog ay sa Sariling Pamamahay Simulan”, aims to raise public awareness about the importance of fire prevention.

PRC chairman Richard Gordon reported that they have helped out in 38 fire incidents in the National Capital Region (NCR) since January.

“As we always say, prevention is key when it comes to fire safety. But it is also smart to make sure that all members of your household know what to do in case there's a fire emergency,” Gordon said.

To reduce risks in case of fire, the PRC advises every household member to know how to use a fire extinguisher and the location of the fire escape. The family should agree on a meeting place at a safe distance from home.

According to the agency, if smoke, heat, or flames are blocking the exit route, one should stay in the room with the door closed, and wave something bright -- a flashlight, glow stick, or a brightly colored cloth -- by the window.

The PRC also advises people to call the fire department when they make it to safety and not to return to the fire scene.

PRC secretary general Oscar Palabyab meanwhile emphasized that fire is preventable.

“But it pays to be aware of fire survival tips, especially during summer, when most fire incidents unfortunately occur,” he said.

The PRC has been responding to fire emergencies since 2009, when the Japanese government donated 12 fire trucks to the agency. (PNA)

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